A woman named Grace retires with her two children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she's waiting for her husband to come back from battle. The children have a disease which means they cannot be touched by direct sunlight without being hurt in some way. They will live alone there with oppressive, strange and almost religious rules, until she needs to hire a group of servants for them. Their arrival will accidentally begin to break the rules with unexpected consequences.Written by
This was the first film ever to receive the Best Film Award at the Goyas (Spain's national film awards) with not a single word of Spanish spoken in it. See more »
Grace says the house does not have electricity. However, when Anne is standing and reciting to her mother as punishment, the table to the left of Anne has a statue of a horse on it which is clearly backlit by the white light of an electric bulb. In the following shots as Anne and Grace argue about Anne's forgiveness, the light is gone. See more »
Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... This story started many thousands of years ago, and it was all over in just 7 days. All that long long time ago, none of the things we can see now, the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, the animals and plants, not a single one existed. Only God existed. And so only he could have created them. And he did.
See more »
Before the opening credits or music begin, we hear Grace's voice over a black screen; she says (in the manner of a mother about to tell a bedtime story), "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin." See more »
Theatrical releases included a longer credit sequence with sketches of Nicole Kidman in the attic and the servants, SFX differences, and some lines of dialogue that were deleted from all subsequent home media releases and TV airings (most notably to make certain plot revelations less obvious). See more »
A Beautiful Drama Entangled in Intense Thrills and Chills
It's funny that I see this movie the way I do, perhaps I'm more perceptive to little dramatic, human touches, but I saw this movie and was satisfied with it. In fact, I fell in love with it. This movie is chilling, very spooky, with a few moments that will make you jump, but it's a movie that works itself up, and by the end of the movie you feel scared, and like someone has zapped you a few times, chilly from inside out, but fulfilled.
People have been comparing this to "Sixth Sense". Though the movie may share similarities, this stands on it's own. It's content is not trying to send a message, except for a universal theme that you want to grasp onto. There is historical and religious content, purely in context for the twists and turns and nuances to make this film so complete in every aspect. Everything works so well. This movie takes pride in each scene, and each is set up so that you get the most of it. Everything relates to everything, you are given clues the entire movie, but it's set up so masterfully the ending is the suprise you've been waiting for.
The performance by Kidman and the two children are one of a kind. It's a realistic interaction between siblings and a controlling, dysfunctional, but loving mother. The acting and writing (the script) is so well done, it adds for scattered scenes that will, hopefully, stick around with you for a long time. There's this one beautiful scene in the movie, it's where Grace (Nicole Kidman) is hugging her son, and her daughter (who is slightly estranged from her mom) runs up and hugs her, and there this look of absolute release on the face of Grace. Another great scene is when Grace carries her rifle around the house (shoot the ghost!), and she's desperately trying to protect her house and children. There are more like that, so keep your eyes open.
The cinematography is innovative and brilliant, camera angles and the lighting set everything up so well. The lighting is very important as well, in fact, the subject of "light" is so well mixed into the story, the dark feels safer and more secure than the light does. There are times when you long for the darkness, just as the characters long for the darkness (due to a part of the plot including a health condition of the children, which serves a basis for the mental thrill fest to come). To finish off this concoction, try to listen to the score, because it's very fitting.
This is more of a drama than a thriller, though it deserves to be a thriller (it's scary), but the power of it's dramatic side comes bursting through. This is a beautiful movie, it has overtones of a more serious side, and it's a movie that hardly belongs in the horror section because of it's beauty, but it's too darned eerie, weird, and chilling to fit anywhere else.
110 of 128 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this